At a conference on nuclear disarmament on Tuesday, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said that India’s nuclear weapon programme had protected it from nuclear blackmail, revealing that other countries had given “explicit or implicit threats” to use nuclear weapons on at least three occasions before the second nuclear test in 1998.
At the National Outreach Conference on Global Nuclear Disarmament, he asserted that since India became a nuclear weapons state, there have not been any such threats. “The possession of nuclear weapons has, empirically speaking, deterred others from attempting nuclear coercion or blackmail against India,” said Menon.
Further, he said, these nuclear weapons have contributed to the country’s security in an uncertain world.
“There is no question that these weapons have done so, to the extent that they were expected to when we decided to become a nuclear weapon state,” said Menon.
He clarified that India’s weapons were for deterrence, and were not “war fighting weapons”.
“Unlike certain other nuclear weapon states, India’s weapons were not meant to redress a military imbalance, or to some perceived inferiority in conventional military terms, or to serve some tactical or operational military need on the battlefield,” he added. He noted that the paradox of nuclear weaponised India championing nuclear disarmament is explained easily.
“We do think that we would be more secure in a world that is truly free of nuclear weapons. But until we arrive at that happy state we have no choice and a responsibility towards our own people to have nuclear weapons to protect them from nuclear threats,” Menon said.